Call For Artists: COP26 & Climate Change Initiative

This project is a collaboration between Occhi Arts and Entertainment and Phoenix FTA Limited, a UK-based sustainability strategy consultancy. Inspired by the UK Creative Earth Competition, Occhi Arts and Entertainment and Phoenix FTA Limited are inviting young artists from around the world to creatively engage with key topics of concern at the COP26 Climate Summit in Glasgow. This initiative provides a wider audience of young artists with a renewed opportunity to visually express their views to world leaders and community stakeholders by producing 2D artwork (drawing, painting, printmaking, collage, and photography) that supports at least one of the following themes:

1. Protect What You Love

Climate Change is giving rise to more frequent wildfires, longer periods of drought in some regions, and an increase in the number, duration, and intensity of tropical storms. Glaciers are shrinking, plant and animal ranges are shifting or go extinct. Humans could save thousands of species from extinction if they act. ‘Protect What You Love’ encourages participants to express their concerns, highlighting what their hold dearly and want to protect from the effects of climate change.

2. A future beyond neoliberal capitalism?

With our societies forced into a truly deranged economic paradigm, one that landed us amid a terrifying climate emergency, it’s hard to imagine that the future of our human species lies beyond the patent immorality of neoliberal capitalism. A completely new system that puts equity and justice at its core is required. Young artists are invited to creatively express their interpretation of a “post-ecopathic” economic system via the mediums of drawing, painting, printmaking, collage, and photography.

The Objective

The objective is to foster and establish an inclusive young artists’ community that feels empowered to engage with global climate change politics by using their creativity, expressing their democratic voice, and participating in this vitally important discourse. We believe the project will help build a noteworthy platform to establish intergenerational collaboration with key stakeholders by raising awareness of COP26 and serve a cross-sectional analysis that will allow deeper insights into how Generations Z and Alpha perceive the severity of climate change. It fosters political engagement, participation in the democratic process, and voices intergenerational concerns.

Submission Process

Participants will be required to submit one image (max file size: 500KB/300 dpi), a short bio (max 150 words), and a written summary of the artwork via email to submissions@occhimagazine.com

Please title your email subject ‘COP26 Art Submission’.

Early submissions (artwork submitted before 28th October 2021) will be featured on the Occhi Contemporary Art website, from 31st October 2021, to coincide with the launch of COP26.

The call for submissions will be open for the duration of COP26, which ends on Friday 12th November. A final selection of works will be featured online and in a publication, to be produced after and in response to COP26 key outcomes. The featured artists and artworks will be announced approximately two weeks after the official deadline to ensure that our guest curators and editorial team give their full attention to each applicant’s work. Further updates and additional information will be posted on occhicontemporary.art and occhimagazine.com.

Art, Artists and Inspiration!

David Emmanuel Noel: Photo Credit Gary ThomasI’ve been extremely productive with Occhi Arts and Entertainment over the last few months, launching the platform’s Contemporary Art Gallery. We’ve had the privileged of showcasing the work of several talented artists, including Pantea Mahrou, Despina Symeou, and Gary Thomas.

Pantea Mahrou began her professional career ten years ago, delving into architecture and taking a leading role in her family’s construction company. She went on to teach at the acclaimed Azad University of Tehran. From a young age, she fell in love with ancient architecture, specifically the Archimedean era, which has inspired her study into its rich history. She remains committed to uncovering its mysteries and secrets. Using spiritual symbols, and architectural influences, her work provides energy that encapsulates the rich history of Middle Eastern culture with a contemporary perspective on life.  Paying careful attention to the colors used, she provides audiences with a sense of calm and peace.

Pantea Mahrou
Pantea Mahrou

Multidisciplinary Artist Gary Thomas’ creativity and thirst for knowledge has inspired many years of study, growth, and development in the creative arts industry. He also continues to highlight major players, celebrities and document the activities of individuals in the industry, particularly with photo portraits. Gary has an archive of photographs. Over the years he has photographed many household names such as Nile Rodgers, Patti Labelle, Chaka Khan, TLC, Professor Sir Magdi Habib  Yacoub, Lalah Hathaway, Dianne Reeves, Hugh Masekela, and Van Morrison. I was honoured to be included as part of this list this month, featuring the accompanying photo (Above)

Gary Thomas

Despina Symeou is a Painter-Printmaker who lives and works in London. After the study of art forms focusing on fine art, printmaking and photography, Despina specialized in Jewellery Design, gaining a B.A.Hons Degree from Middlesex University. In recent years she has returned to the two-dimensional formats that had originally fired her imagination, predominantly in etching. Her work is currently featured in Occhi Contemporary’s online exhibition ‘ Not Just For The Bedroom’ Please visit the Occhi Contemporary Website for further information on the artists, news, and forthcoming shows.

Despina Symeou

Participation in The Association of African American Museums (AAAM) 2021 Conference

The Association of African American Museums (AAAM) holds its 2021 conference this month. The event is designed to provide networking opportunities for young museum professionals, professional development, and online learning. Speaking about the event, Vedet Coleman-Robinson, Executive Director said, “Last year’s successful launch of the first virtual conference proved that despite our distance, we can still learn, grow, and network together virtually.   Historically, the AAAM conference is a family reunion of sorts for professionals of African and African American-focused museums as well as a wide array of cultural institutions.  Last year, we gathered and connected virtually and we all were safe, protected, and healthy.  We want to have that same outcome this year.”

This year,  I’m privileged to participate in a panel discussion, titled ‘Museum Pedagogy: Informing and Educating through a Parallel Delivery of Arts, Media, and Mentorship’. I’ll be joined by Kishan Munroe- a Bahamian documentarian, researcher, and interdisciplinary artist whose practice comprises painting, drawing, photography, film, installation art, and assemblages, and Alexis Alleyne-Caputo (Afro Diaries™ & Grace and Graffiti™) – anthropologist, researcher, and award-winning interdisciplinary artist. We’ll be exploring the importance of the arts and how artists may contribute to their communities whilst supporting worthwhile objectives of museums and educational institutes.

Registered participants will gain insight on a variety of topics surrounding the museum field from a range of museum professionals throughout the country with the conference and plenary sessions.  Keeping in the tradition of their conferences, AAAM will have special guests for their keynote address and evening receptions. This year’s event will again be virtual allowing registrants to be safe, empowered, and engaged while keeping safe and healthy.

The conference runs from August 4 -6th 2021. For further details, and to register for the event please visit the AAAM’s website.

‘Colonial Currents: Black Women, Water, Trauma, and Baptism’ At The 15th National Black Writers Conference

The Center for Black Literature at Medgar Evers College of the City University of New York (CBL) presents the 15th National Black Writers Conference (NBWC2020). The conference, which started on Wednesday, runs until Saturday, November 14, 2020. The event, in association with Akila Worksongs, was rescheduled from its annually-held Spring dates due to COVID-19 and will be held virtually. This year’s theme, Activism, Identity, and Race: Playwrights and Screenwriters at the Crossroads, is a new focus for the Conference that boldly affirms and celebrates how the diaspora’s playwrights and screenwriters expand society’s understanding of Black life and the human experience. Forming part of an exciting program of events, anthropologist and interdisciplinary artist Alexis Alleyne-Caputo (Afro Diaries™) will present her short film titled  ‘Colonial Currents: Black Women, Water, Trauma, and Baptism’. 

Further to her previous projects exploring issues affecting black and brown communities, Alexis Alleyne Caputo’s project draws on current pertinent and intersecting issues, underscoring racial injustice, police brutality, climate change, COVID-19, and the global momentum supporting the Black Lives Matter movement.  The short film will be followed by a Q&A, which I have been invited to participate in.

Much reflection is given on how artists, activists, and educators can respond to the conference’s overall theme of activism, identity, and race whilst widening discussion, exploring solutions and disseminating findings beyond the conference’s virtual registrants. The artist who contributed to the project were Andria Thomas, Anasthasia Grand-Pierre, Cheryl Harrell, Desiree Parkman, Kashia Kancey, Maryann A. Payne-Benjamin, M.M.N. Caputo, Na’Talya Elizabeth Duhart, Shawna Watson, Shawnnette Longley (Rimidi), and Yolande Clark-Jackson.

Speaking on the eve of the conference Alexis Alleyne Caputo explains, ”This is a response to the conference theme of  Activism, Identity, and Race: Playwrights and Screenwriters at the Crossroads. The African American experience must be recorded and viewed from a wider lens, understanding similar or shared experiences of black people across the world. Milestones in history, our response, and the narrative of the African diaspora’s story matters. This is best served via the collaboration of literary and visual minds to celebrate our being and shape our future’’.

Other conference highlights include roundtable conversations, panel discussions, a town hall, film screenings, author readings, writing and playwrighting talk shops, a local vendor marketplace, and much more. The four-day virtual gathering brings together students, writers, artists, activists, scholars, literary professionals, theater and film giants, and other literature enthusiasts from near and far. The aim is to explore the challenges, rewards, and impact of working within the Black film and theater industries. Discussions will examine the ways that race, identity, politics, and popular culture shape the production of plays, films, and television shows.

For further information on Alexis Alleyne Caputo please visit https://alexiscaputo.com/

Click here for the program for the day.  For further information and bookings for the 15th National Black Writers Conference (NBWC2020) please visit https://centerforblackliterature.com

The featured image, courtesy of Alexis Alleyne Caputo  features Anasthasia Grand-Pierre (left) and  Maryann A. Benjamin (right)

Mental Health Awareness Week- Art, Climate Change and Well Being

Climates of Motion, David Emmanuel Noel
Climates of Motion 2

Hoping you’re all well and enjoying life. It’s been a busy few weeks, head down working on a few projects and paintings. I’ve included two recent works which form part of my Fusion Series. The works will to be exhibited shortly.

The Fusion Series is an experimentation of colour, using a variety of acrylic paints and ink, encouraging you to  think about the relationships between tones and textures in paintings, how they provoke emotions and support mental well being.

A variety of health professionals accept that our healthcare environment has a significant impact on a patient’s perception of their medical care and, in some cases, their actual recovery. Health professionals continue to explore the psychology of colour and how chosen hues on walls, floors and furniture can have a positive, or indeed negative, effect on a person’s health and wellbeing.

Continuing the original theme, the attached works have been influenced by a growing body of evidence that climate change induced mental health issues are increasing. It is particularly worrying to know this is a growing issue with teenagers.

I will endeavour to share evidence and updates in future posts.

Stay well!

Climates of Motion, David Emmanuel Noel
Climates of Motion 1